Off-campus renting is a popular living option for University of Guelph-Humber students who come from far away, but some tenants in the Rexdale area have growing concerns over their personal safety.
Second-year students Kelly Cao and Angela Franco are roommates living in a rental house within two kilometres from campus. Both expressed that staying safe has been a worry for them.
“I believe my roommates and I live in a sketchy area,” said Cao. “On a scale of one to 10, I think I would give a seven in terms of safeness.”
According to Cao, some people in their area cause them discomfort and are often needlessly disruptive.
“For example, one evening at 1 a.m., a stranger was ringing on our doorbell for no reason. It terrified us.”
Franco also revealed her unease with the area.
“I feel safe in my actual house,” said Franco. “But the area around Guelph-Humber does not feel safe. Three girls living alone is not a safe situation in most locations, but it definitely doesn’t feel safe in this area . . . When I lock the door to my house though, I feel safe.”
According to the Toronto Police Service’s website, there has been a five per cent increase in major criminal offenses in the Rexdale-Kipling area within the last year. Although assaults and robberies have decreased, there have been significant increases in other categories, including a 16 per cent increase in sexual violations and an 18 per cent increase in break and enters.
Ahmet Haddad is a landlord who also lives within the area. He began renting his home’s fully furnished basement to students last year. Despite Cao and Franco’s concerns, he insists that the area is adequately safe.
“It’s not perfect,” said Haddad. “But if you take good care of yourself, you’ll be okay.”
However, their insecurities aside, Cao and Franco maintain that they are satisfied with where they are.
“I’m happy with my current living situation,” said Cao. “Also, the walking distance from the house to school is only 10 minutes, so that’s a bonus.”